I am frequently asked how I manage all my ventures, endeavors and personal commitments and not go nuts. Business is a high stakes game and I have over the years learned to develop areas of my life that help me survive as an entrepreneur. Here they are…
Start each morning and temper my heart and mind.
On average, I get over 200 emails a day. When my morning starts, my phone starts blowing up with emails, texts and voicemails of the urgency of the day. It takes every ounce of my strength to keep all my electronics on the sidelines in the morning. Before I do anything in business, I must temper my heart and mind into a place of trust. If I don’t, I will ruin my day by trying to control everything and begin reacting to every situation. For me, I read, pray and spend time clearing my mind. I try and immerse myself in quietness before I enter the riot of business.
Surround myself with people who are not impressed with me.
There is a shortage of people who live life with people who disagree with them. The tendency is surround yourself with people who will agree with you on all fronts. I intentionally invite certain people into the deepest areas of my life that I can confide in and ask for their perspective. More often than not, it is exactly the opposite of what I want to hear. But it is what I need to hear. Develop relationships with people in your life who will tell you when you are wrong and who are not afraid of offending you.
Pursue personal development
I not only want to be the best entrepreneur in the world, I also want to be the best husband and father in the world. I want who I am a person (not what I am involved in) to be of relational value to people. Its too easy to let who you are professionally ruin who you are personally. I want it the other way around. I invest in myself as a husband and father so that I am a better CEO.
Invest time into other causes and people.
One of my favorite investments of my life is in Epic Life, which is a young adult – college community of youthful believers. I get to interact with people from all walks of life and journey with them as they grow. We also go on a yearly trip to El Salvador and serve people in great need. This rounds me out and helps me from becoming calloused from the pursuits of business.
Know how to have fun
I have become a student of myself for what I need to be unwind. All the high drama of commitments and obligations can build up quite a bit of internal static that needs to be released. For me, I need a good rush or thrill. Typically it is riding motocross or occasionally surfing. I also have a road bike, side car scooter and some other completely irresponsible toys. They help me take my mind off things so I can come back to them refreshed.
Resist the urge to be an a-hole.
Being an entrepreneur, the seduction of becoming a control freak lurks at every corner. If you are not careful, you will sacrifice other people’s dignity and respect for your personal gain. The default posture is to only trust yourself. I try to do the opposite and trust others. It’s good practice to give as many people as you can chances to hit a homerun. It’s better they take a chance and fail than be to afraid to ever take a chance. I take chances and fail every day. Tolerate people’s growth and survive their mistakes and don’t take things too seriously. Nothing is ever as bad in reality as it is in your head.
What I do is different than who I am.
This one takes tremendous effort. Entrepreneurs derive much of their value and identity based on their success. I try to consciously separate my worth and identity from my business endeavors. The odds are against my success and I don’t want to have an identity in shambles if I have a failed venture. I am secure in who I am spiritually and relationally before anything else. While I hope my ventures work out, I shall not let myself be ruined if they don’t. Who I am is way more important than anything I do.
Nothing is worth my family, marriage and personal health
When you are in business, nothing is predictable. Often there are sacrifices that require you go above and beyond human reason. In response, typically your family, marriage and personal well being get the leftovers. No amount of success is worth destroying every relationship you have. If you are not careful, that is what will happen. First understand what it requires to be a good husband, father and overall nice human being. What is left over is what you invest into your business.